S. Derrin Watson, J.D.

S. Derrin Watson, JD, APM, is an independent ERISA attorney and educator in Santa Barbara, California with over 36 years of experience in dealing with retirement plans. In addition to his solo practice, Mr. Watson is of counsel to the Ferenczy Benefits Law Center. Previously, Mr. Watson worked with FIS with their Relius line of educational programs and products and before that was the tax partner of a law firm in Beverly Hills. He spends much of the year traveling to present seminars, and in 2016 delivered over 75 web seminars. Click here to learn more about how Derrin can provide education and training to your company or organization.

He received his bachelor’s degree in accounting from BYU and in 1980 he graduated from UCLA Law School. He has been involved with qualified plans since 1977 and had his first case involving controlled groups shortly thereafter. He has maintained a strong interest in this area ever since and has become the leading authority on controlled group, affiliated service group, and leased employee issues. He authored the first edition of Who’s the Employer in 1998, and is has recently completed the 7th edition. He lectures frequently for ASPPA and other professional organizations. In 2006, ASPPA awarded Derrin its Educator’s Award for his work in providing professional education to plan practitioners.

Derrin is a Senior Editor of the Journal of Pension Benefits and has authored the “Who’s the Employer” column on the BenefitsLink web site.

Derrin and his wife, Julene recently celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary. They have two sons and four grandchildren. Derrin is known for punctuating his retirement plan presentations with humor and the occasional parody.